Road Humps and Sidewalks: a book review

Road Humps and Sidewalks: the path less travelled, by Dr Kalyan C Kanakanala, is an intriguing piece of fiction from the pen of an Indian IP professional who "aspires to walk the path never taken" [Does that aspiration have any relevance to the choice of "road humps and sidewalks", muses Merpel].  Here's a review by Katfriend Caroline Ncube:
This 164 page IP law thriller has all the hallmarks of a winner; corporate espionage, attempted kidnapping, foiled hits, court room romance, a corrupt Chief Justice and a David v Goliath (Pharma v generic company and public hospitals) battle over patents for a life-saving drug. It's an engrossing read which I read in one sitting -- I just couldn't put it down.

The story begins with the theft of cutting-edge research from the Max Planck Institute in Munich and swiftly moves to India where the stolen research has been patented. A devastating viral illness sweeps across the country taking hundreds of lives, beginning with a well- known cricket player. By chance, a doctor stationed in a rural outpost discovers that the patented drug is a cure for the illness. He shares his knowledge with others and the drug is used nationally to try and stem the devastation. Soon supplies of the drug dwindle as the multinational pharma company tries to create scarcity to drive up prices. A local company that produces generics is engaged by public hospitals to produce a generic version of the drug. The battle commences as the pharma company sues for patent infringement, represented by a leading Silk. The other side is represented by a little-known but brilliant young lawyer. This hero, who is visually impaired, is intimidated and attempts are made on his life when he refuses to withdraw from the patent infringement case.

The manner in which patents should be used in the public interest is meaningfully explored in the facts of the story, the characters' conversations and in the account of the court room battle. The book does a marvelous job of placing these important issues in a real-life setting. The language is clear and engaging, and every reader will shut this book with a better understanding of the issues at stake.

Its an enjoyable read with interesting characters who include a dog who dreams and is infatuated with a stuck- up neighbour's pet, a garrulous legal associate and a flirtatious doctor who finds love in the opposing legal camp. The setting is incredibly rich with references to popular sports like tennis and cricket, significant religious celebrations and social events at the characters' homes. It lightens the seriousness of the legal issues at stake and ensures that the characters are perceived as whole human beings.

The book introduces various other important contemporary IP issues such as celebrity endorsement contracts gone wrong, trade secret misappropriation in the software industry and its epilogue introduces copyright reform issues.

It will ignite a keen interest in IP for the novice reader and provides much food for thought for those knowledgeable about IP. Highly recommended".
Details of Road Humps and Sidewalks can be accessed here.
Road Humps and Sidewalks: a book review Road Humps and Sidewalks: a book review Reviewed by Jeremy on Saturday, January 26, 2013 Rating: 5


  1. "David v Goliath (Pharma v generic company and public hospitals)"

    Correct order these days with Pharma being the 'David'.

  2. I once thought about writing a book called 'Murder at the Patent Office'. It would be set against the backdrop of an Examiner making money out of raising unfair lack of unity objections. The main suspect was a scientist who could not get any patents granted, and the crime would be investigated and solved by a trainee patent attorney who is a disillusioned ex-academic, who left his university because he was unable to cope with the pressures of trying to commercialise his research.

  3. Complements to Dr.Kalyan for writing Road Humps and Side Walks. The fact that I read it in two sessions in a day makes me think that the work was closest to authors heart. There is law, legal analysis, plot, fun, concern, violence, love, motivation, competition, thrill, secrecy, surprise, satire, and everything in it. You are a great pharmacist to pack so much in one capsule. I really enjoyed reading through this novel. It is a reflection of the real concerns to be addressed by the developed countries at the individual and institutional level for the benefit of masses. This book is going to be Indian equivalent of John Gresham’s work. I feel this novel should be read by all lawyer (law teachers, law students and advocates). It is my considered opinion that the novel is a good stuff for a movie which can become a box office hit if properly handled. Look forward for many more from “Arjun.”

  4. Here is after a long time that I came across a Novel, which I could not leave once I started. The Plot, the Characters, the Underlying Message are so reflective of present day Pharmaceutical Giants that strive on Patents for monopoly over the market without focusing on good for the society. The best part of the Novel is this strong message that it gives to the reader while maintaining the entertainment throughout. The thrill is just right and keeps the reader hooked. the articulation of the Novel is simple yet effective. It explains Indian Patent Regime effectively without an overdose of legal terminologies that may have not made any sense to a normal person in day to day life. A great first start in India's patent fiction thriller genre. Definitely recommended to all fiction thriller lovers and also looking forward to more from the writer in days to come.

  5. After all the recent fat mythological fiction books that i had buried myself into this book came in as the fresh breeze of humour, action, romance and legalities. I being a Lawyer in Hyd could relate to a few of situations in the books. The best thing about Kalyan Sir as a writer and a person is that he doesn't over do events and exaggerate them and keeps them simple, modest and true to its nature, Can take the liberty of saying so after knowing this wonderful person for 10+ years. The book is like taking a break amidst your work place or your busy week and a thorough quick page turner.


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